About the Program

Get Funded for your Graduate Student Research Project!

The Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) Analyzing Relationships between Disability, Rehabilitation and Work (ARDRAW) Small Grant Program is a one-year $10,000 stipend program awarded to graduate-level students to conduct supervised independent research designed to foster new analysis of work, rehabilitation, and disability issues, which may develop innovative and fresh perspectives on disability. ARDRAW focuses on research relevant to SSA’s work incentives and employment supports – specifically rehabilitation, work and the disability program.

Potential research areas of inquiry include, but are not limited to:


  • Working conditions of SSA beneficiaries
  • Work accommodations and needs of SSA beneficiaries
  • Non-competitive employment for SSA beneficiaries
  • Vocational and other types of service use by SSA beneficiaries
  • Non-SSA assistance provided to SSA beneficiaries

Informational Webinar


  • View the informational webinar that was held on January 13, 2022. It provided a brief introduction to the program, reviewed the elements of a successful application, and addressed participants’ questions.

Applicant Eligibility


  • Applicants must be masters, doctoral, or post-doctoral-level part-time or full-time graduate students pursuing studies in accredited programs at the time of the award (Fall semester of 2022) with an academic emphasis in topics of interest to disability programs, including, but not limited to, public health, social work, economics, occupational medicine, vocational and rehabilitation counseling, public policy and administration, sociology, psychology, education, medicine, employment, and law.
  • At the time of stipend award, selected graduate student researchers must be citizens or non-citizen nationals of the United States, or must have been lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence, i.e., in possession of a currently valid Alien Registration Receipt Card I-551, or some other legal verification of legal admission as a permanent resident.
  • Members of minority and historically disadvantaged groups are encouraged to apply.
  • Students who are not eligible for the stipend award:
    • Individuals on temporary or student visas
    • Employees of SSA (including Disability Determination Services (DDS))
    • Students receiving funds from another SSA source (such as the Retirement and Disability Research Consortium) at the time of applying for an ARDRAW stipend
  • Students are required to list any other federal funding for their research. As stated above, only federal funding from another SSA source would preclude an applicant from eligibility. However, you may not “double-dip” and request funding for a project that has already been funded.
  • Applicants may submit more than one proposal for consideration per year, but can receive only one stipend award per year.
  • ARDRAW funds are intended to support an independent research project; in other words, your final paper must be able to stand on its own. However, this project may inform or become part of the research for a doctoral dissertation or master’s thesis.

Expectations and Deliverables

If chosen for this grant, each award recipient will be expected to:

  1. Submit a detailed work plan indicating objectives, activities, and time-frames
  2. Participate in an individual kick off call with grant recipients, faculty mentors, PRI, and SSA
  3. Submit a letter of approval from their academic institution’s IRB
  4. Submit quarterly progress reports summarizing status of research activities
  5. Participate in quarterly conference calls with their faculty mentor and PRI
  6. Submit a 15-page research paper by Friday, May 12, 2023
  7. Submit a revised research paper by Friday, June 23, 2023
  8. Present their research on a webinar in August 2023.